LTA on track to alleviate congestion

THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) will work on improving Singapore’s public-transport system on three fronts to ease congestion, Transport Minister Raymond Lim said yesterday.

It will expand its rail capacity aggressively, speed up bus travel and make integration between the rail network and bus services more seamless, he said.

About 590 additional MRT train trips per week will be added from Sunday.

In addition, 22 new trains will progressively join the North-South-East-West Line when the Jurong East Modification Project is completed in May.

Stages four and five of the Circle Line (CCL) will be completed and operational by October.

LTA estimates that the opening of 12 stations, from Marymount to HarbourFront, will enhance accessibility for an estimated 200,000 residents and 120,000 workers.

“When fully open, we expect the CCL to help relieve crowding levels on critical stretches of existing MRT lines by about 10 to 15 per cent,” said Mr Lim.

In addition, some 16 new trains will be delivered for CCL by 2015, to cater for future ridership growth, he added.

Woodleigh Station, which has been mothballed since the North-East Line began operations in 2003, will finally open its doors on June 20.

Damai Station, the last station on the Punggol East LRT Loop to open, will also start operating on that day.

The average daily publictransport ridership increased by 9 per cent to 5.37 million trips last year, resulting in commuters having to put up with increasingly crowded trains and buses.

Commuter satisfaction dipped in the past year, according to the latest Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Out of some 3,100 respondents surveyed last year, 92.2 per cent were satisfied with the overall public-transport services, compared with 93.8 per cent in 2009.

Comfort, the lowest-rated MRT service attribute, fell further in satisfaction percentage, from 81.3 per cent in 2009 to 80.3 per cent last year.

To enhance capacity in the long run, LTA will open a new rail section every year for the next six years. These include a CCL extension to Marina Bay next year and the Downtown Line (DTL) Stage One from Bugis to Chinatown in 2013.

Re-signalling works, which will see trains run at intervals of 100 seconds instead of the current 120 seconds during peak periods, will increase commuter capacity by 20 per cent.

To alleviate crowding on buses and shorten waiting times, another 21 bus services have been identified for service improvements following LTA’s quarterly review.
More bus trips and doubledecker buses have been deployed.

Public-transport operators will also bring in 400 new buses this year.

Two new integrated transport hubs – air-conditioned bus interchanges and MRT stations located alongside retail outlets and businesses – will begin operating in the second half of this year in Serangoon and Clementi.

LTA plans to build more integrated transport hubs over the next few years, in Bukit Panjang, Hougang Central and Yishun, said Mr Lim. 

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